AHURA.ṰKAĒŠA, an infrequent Avestan adjective meaning “following the Ahuric doctrine.” Its oldest occurrence is probably in the Fravarānē, the Zoroastrian confession of faith, which begins (Y. 12.1), fravarānē mazdayasnō zaraθuštriš vīdaēvō ahura.ṱkaēšō . . . “I profess myself a worshiper of Mazdā, a Zoroastrian, rejecting the daēvas, following the Ahuric doctrine . . . .” Elsewhere (Yt. 13.89) Zoroaster himself is hailed as being mazdayasnō . . . vīdaēvō ahura.ṱkaēšō “a Mazdā-worshiper, . . . opposed to the daēvas, following the Ahuric doctrine. “The words vīdaēva-, ahura.ṱkaēša- are paired elsewhere (Y. 9.13, 65.1), and together with mazdayasna- and zaraθuštri- they define a Zoroastrian. The “Ahuric doctrine” was based on the maintenance of aša, the principle of order, truth, and justice which was actively upheld by the two lesser Ahuras (Mithra and Apam Napāt) at the behest of Ahura Mazdā and which (in Zoroaster’s revelation) excluded the worship of the amoral daēvas.

Subsequently, Zoroastrian theologians interpreted the element ahura- more narrowly as referring only to the greatest Ahura, Ahura Mazdā, and so the Pahlavi translation of Ahura.ṱkaēša- is ohrmazd-dādestān “following the law of Ohrmazd.” The term thus became little more than a synonym of mazdayasna-, which is perhaps why it dropped out of later Zoroastrian usage.


AirWb., col. 294.

E. Benveniste and L. Renou, Vṛtra et Vṛθragna, Paris, 1934, pp. 47-48.

E. Benveniste, in W. B. Henning Memorial Volume, London, 1970, pp. 40-41.

(M. Boyce)

Originally Published: December 15, 1984

Last Updated: December 15, 1984

Cite this entry:

M. Boyce, “AHURA.ṰKAĒŠA,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahura-tkaesa (accessed on 16 October 2012).